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Sunday night I came home to discover that Some Creature had bitten off one of my peppers, which was lying in the dirt at the foot of the plant in question. Since it's one of the three plants right up against the edge of Downstairs Neighbor S's garage, my suspicion is that a squirrel got around my animal-be-gone spray by venturing across the metal garage roof and leaning down to nibble on my plants.

But of course peppers don't taste good to squirrels, so instead of a meal it just got a mess. *sigh*

The pepper is now safe in my fridge waiting for me to pick another and toss them both into a batch of cheesy potato hotdish, which will hopefully happen... I dunno, maybe Thursday. Soonish, anyway.

Link to photos on Tumblr

(Please forgive the weird and insistent pinkness of both pictures. I have no idea what was going on with my phone yesterday.)
edenfalling: colored line-art drawing of a three-scoop ice cream sundae (ice cream sundae)
It's been a long time since I made a pepper post, hasn't it? Anyway, these are photos from Sunday the 6th. As you can see, the older peppers are either about ready to be picked or making a second attempt to bloom after their woes in Ithaca's way-too-rainy early and mid-summer.

My younger peppers are making their first attempt to bloom, and in more than half the cases, are succeeding. There are a couple that got warped by pesticide (I must remember in future to spray only lower leaves and not the growing tip of the plants), and some others that were hurt by the same excess rain problem, but the majority are doing fine.

My main takeaway from all this is that A) I should invest in terracotta pots rather than plastic ones, because they really are just that much better in terms of drainage -- check out the color difference between the plants on the left and the plants on the right in the top photo for proof -- and B) that the peppers sheltered by the mulberry tree did notably better than the others, though I'm not sure whether the shade or the natural umbrella effect was the more relevant part of that shelter.

link to photos on Tumblr (because Tumblr is awful and will break the links if I try to embed them over here; I speak from long and frustrated experience)


And then I picked two peppers, chopped them up, and tossed them in my crockpot with some yellow squash, onion, and various spices. The mix should be done cooking in... eh, let's say another hour. It's not quite the same as my previous attempt at slow-cooked vegetable side-dish -- that one included, IIRC, some residual tomato water I drained from a can of tomatoes and then froze for later use -- but it smells all right so far. :D

link to photos on Tumblr
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
And here are some individual pepper plants! The first is the poor plant that got hit most dramatically by the leaf blight I mentioned in my previous post. (Don't worry; it survived!)

The second is the biggest and healthiest of my first batch of peppers, gearing itself up to bloom. I fully expect blossoms by next weekend. :D

Then we have my two problem children, both of which failed to properly split their seed coats back when they first pushed up through the dirt. I rescued the first, but accidentally halved its cotyledons in the process and the resulting shock (and loss of photosynthetic power, since the mutilated cotyledons did not grow much past their initial size) slowed its subsequent development by about two weeks. Also, it kind of sprawled outward rather than aiming upward once it finally started to grow again. Hopefully fresh air and 360-degree sunlight will agree with it.

The second problem child had defective cotyledons that failed to separate. Since the stem and true leaves are supposed to grow from BETWEEN the cotyledons, this presented it with a bit of a conundrum. After some heavy thought, it sprouted a single leaf at a sideways angle, and now, after another bout of heavy problem-solving, it's finally sprouting a pair of true leaves off the side of that first leaf -- that's the little blurry green blotch in the center of the V-shape made by the stems -- and ignoring the cotyledons as a bad path. I am cheering it on!

edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
It's been... uh... two months since I posted any pepper pictures? Wow. Where DOES the time go?

Anyway, I repotted my first batch about three weeks ago (except for the one that couldn't break its own seed case and whose cotyledons I accidentally cut in half while freeing it) and moved them out onto my back porch. They suffered some kind of leaf blight in their first week outdoors, but I sprayed them with a general purpose insecticide/miticide/fungicide and they're all doing better now, though obviously the ones least affected by the blight are bigger and more mature than their compatriots.

In fact, a couple of them already have buds and I expect flowers by next weekend. Closeups to follow in my next post!

The second and third batches of peppers didn't grow quite as vibrantly as the first batch, which I think is because they were in smaller seedling pots and had no room to stretch their roots. But today I got around to transplanting them as well, including the pepper with the mutilated cotyledons and the one whose cotyledons failed to separate properly. I spritzed them all very lightly with insecticide, which I fully expect to get washed away by Saturday's predicted rain, but maybe that will stave off the leaf blight issue for this cohort.



Okay, so, you probably noticed there are no actual pictures in this post! That is because I'm tired of my embedded image links breaking EVERY TIME Tumblr does some kind of "upgrade," so from now on I'm just going to link to the relevant Tumblr post that contains the photos.

Which in this case is THIS POST RIGHT HERE. Click on the photos to embiggen them. :-)
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I am trying to write a fic and it just will not get to the damn point! Like, there is a central idea, and a theme word, and a sort of subplot, and I know exactly how they should fit together, and somehow all that shows up on the page is rambling filler. I cannot seem to get from situation A to event B in any coherent fashion.




In less frustrating walks of life, I repotted fourteen of my first batch of peppers and moved them outside yesterday. This evening (and then again starting around 11pm) they experienced their first thunderstorms. I think all the pots are draining properly, but I supposed I'll know for sure in the morning. *crosses fingers*

Also, for the record, you might think repotting plants is no big deal, but by the time you get through six of them and you realize you still have eight more to go, you start wondering what on earth possessed you to plant so many seeds in the first place.

Next year I may actually clear out the garden plot and just stick the plants down there. It would involve some wire fencing, I'm sure, and also be a pain in the neck, but it can't be MORE of a pain in the neck than my current strategy.

I have a huge backlog of pictures to email to myself and then download and file, but I may get that done this weekend, in which case I will bombard y'all with a photomontage or something of that general ilk.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. I cleaned the final quarter of my back porch today! \o/ I got a little slapdash when it came to the actual steps down to the yard, but hey, whatever, it's done. I've sprinkled some detergent-with-bleach over the whole thing and am now waiting for it to rain and hopefully sort of soak that into the wood. Then I will spray for squirrels, and then I will move my first batch of peppers outdoors.

I think I'll repot them tomorrow, in anticipation. :-)


2. The Ithaca Festival started yesterday with the traditional one-mile-run and the parade, which I swear gets longer every year. I don't know if it also gets weirder every year -- new weirdness may simply replace old weirdness rather than augmenting it -- but if you ever wanted to know if Ithaca was the right community for you, my advice would be to come watch the parade and if you feel a sense of, "Yes, these are my people" rather than, "OMGWTFBBQ?!?!" you'll probably fit right in. *wry*

I kind of split the difference, I think? At any rate, I definitely count as right-wing around here, which never stops being hilarious (and a little scary, tbh).

Anyway, I decided not to march with my church's 150th anniversary ukulele union (don't ask. seriously, don't ask) and just watched from the sidelines since the route runs right through my neighborhood and I can walk there in five minutes, easy.


3. Tomorrow is haircut day. Yes.


4. Wednesday was my church's annual meeting. I've rarely been able to get to them, because of working closing shifts at the smoke shop, but I believe in voting and also in cheap dinners supplied by other people, so of course I went this year. :-) End result: delicious pizza in my stomach, an annual budget approved, and several people elected to the Board of Trustees, the nominating committee, and the settled ministerial search committee. (I did mention our minister quit as of last December, right? Because that's still a thing that happened.)


5. I have four stories left to read in the Betapalooza archive, which I would like to get done before authors are revealed on Monday. This will necessarily render my own story blatantly obvious, since it will be the only one I haven't commented on, but eh, so it goes. I'd also kind of like to make a rec list, though I'm not entirely certain it's worth the effort since the archive is so small: only 31 works.

(Speaking of which, do go check out the Betapalooza fics and art! The general quality is very high!)


6. I wrote a 15-minute ficlet except I couldn't think of a functional ending within the time limit, and now it's been about two hours and I still can't think of a functional ending, which is really annoying. I think I'll go reheat some dinner and then stare at the document yet again in hopes that this time words will magically appear in my brain.

Yeah. Sounds like a plan.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Ha, victory is mine!

Or, in other words, I've been in a blue funk for the past couple weeks (which interacted... oddly... with taking care of the dog), but today I was feeling moderately together again, and the weather cooperated, so I washed, sanded, and peeled away dirt and old paint from my front room windowsill, and have now repainted the damn thing so it will hopefully not rot out from under my air conditioner once I get that installed on Wednesday. Take that, universe!

(Also I dug a weird virulent-yellow fungus out of one of my houseplants' pots and sprayed the remaining dirt with fungicide, but that's minor. I could have done that even with no spoons. But I might not have gotten the fungus out to the compost bin if that had happened a couple days ago, so yay spoons!)

On Thursday, weather permitting, I will try to actually get around to scrubbing my back porch like I've been meaning to for three weeks now, after which I can spray it with animal deterrent and finally repot my first batch of peppers to move outdoors. They're starting to tip over in their baby pots -- I have three braced with popsicle sticks and twisties -- and this suggests it's time to give them proper adult pots and stakes.


Also maybe I can cook stuff. Because I've been completely unable to manage that since I came back from NJ, and that's getting stupid.
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[[Note: if you are trying to follow the pepper saga in real-ish time, you may want to check out the backdated April 17th pepper status report, which I forgot to crosspost here at the time.]]


Pepper update! I currently have twenty-nine tiny pepper seedlings, out of thirty-three planted seeds. That's a pretty good survival rate! (It may go down slightly, of course. Watch this space.)

twenty-nine pepper sprouts in various containers and stages of growth
all twenty-nine of my baby peppers on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

All but one of the oldest batch, planted on March 15th, have their first pair of proper leaves, and two are even starting to grow a fifth leaf. You can see the difference in shape and structure between the new leaves and the first pair of seedling leaves, which exist mostly to break apart the seed coat.

pepper seedling in a black mug, with four leaves and the tiny start of a fifth
the fifth leaf is that little green prong pointing to the left

All but one of the middle batch, planted March 25th, are starting to grow their third leaves -- a couple are even starting their fourth leaves at the same time.

pepper seedling in a plastic cup, with two tiny leaves sprouting from between its first pair
aren't the new leaves so cute and tiny???

And the last batch, planted April 1st, are doing nicely though still at least a few days away from venturing into new leaf territory.

four pepper seedlings in plastic cups
all four of the April 1st batch, growing very nicely :-)

I had two seedlings this year that weren't able to crack their seed coats on their own; I had to help them with some tugging and judicious use of fingernail scissors. The troubled sprout from the March 15th batch now seems to be running on the schedule of the untroubled March 25th sprouts. It is also by far the smallest of all twenty-nine sprouts. But it is finally growing its third leaf, so yay for life finding a way!

pepper seedling in salmon-colored pot, with a tiny third leaf starting to grow
the troubled March 15th sprout

I'm a little more worried about the troubled sprout from the March 25th batch. It couldn't crack its seed coat because its seedling leaves failed to completely separate and therefore couldn't get the right combination of angle and force. It's done better on the vertical growth front than its fellow troubled sprout, but given that the first proper leaf pair usually sprouts from between the seedling leaves, I'm a little unsure if this one will even be able to produce a third and fourth leaf, and if so, exactly where they will appear.

pepper seedling in a plastic cup, with incompletely separated leaves
the troubled March 25th sprout

(On a highly tangential note, I am pleased that one of the two peppers that is flourishing most of the March 15th batch -- the one in the photograph above -- is in the same repurposed coffee mug as one of my failed plants from last year: the tiny, weirdly dark-leafed sprout that first quit growing and then just up and shriveled away for no apparent reason. I was afraid perhaps there was something inimical to peppers about the mug or its glaze, but apparently that is not the case. Last year it just got a dud seed. *shrug*)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Pepper update! My third and final batch of seeds began to sprout on Tuesday the 14th, one day before I expected much from them. I took pictures on Wednesday the 15th, and again on Friday the 17th. Three seeds had sprouted in the first set, and a fourth has now joined them. You can get a sense of just how fast the seedlings grow at first when you consider that barely 48 hours have passed between the two pairs of photographs.

two pepper sprouts in plastic cups, making U-shaped arches
two pepper sprouts, Wednesday, April 15th

one pepper sprout in a plastic cup, making a U-shaped arch
a third pepper sprout, also April 15th

two pepper sprouts, leaves up and leaning toward the light
those first two pepper sprouts, two days later on Friday, April 17th

two pepper sprouts; the left one has leaves, while the right one is just a U-shaped stem
the third sprout, plus a fourth just peeking out of the dirt, April 17th

And now for the rest of the peppers! As you can see, the first batch of seedlings are now starting to grow their second pair of leaves. (Well, except the one that couldn't crack its seed coat, which I had to rescue with fingernail scissors, and which is still very tiny and hesitant, but hey: details.)

pepper seedling in a black mug, with a tiny pair of leaves sprouting from between its first pair
pepper seedling starting to grow its second pair of leaves, April 17th

pepper seedling in a blue mug, with a tiny pair of leaves sprouting from between its first pair
another pepper seedling growing its second pair of leaves, April 17th

Also, have a picture of all the peppers together in one shot, because why not. :-)

29 pepper seedlings on a sunlit table, in various containers and stages of growth
all twenty-nine of my peppers, April 17th
edenfalling: stained-glass butterfly in a purple frame (butterfly)
The difference a day makes! (And by 'day,' I mean not even twenty-four hours. These photos are from ~10am on Thursday, April 9, and the previous set were taken at ~1:30pm on Wednesday, April 8.)

four plastic cups with pepper sprouts
four tiny pepper seedlings on Thursday, April 9; the one on the bottom left is still wearing its seed coat over its leaves

three plastic cups with pepper sprouts and one cup of plain dirt
three more tiny pepper seedlings, and one no-show on the bottom left

three plastic cups with pepper sprouts
and the last three tiny pepper seedlings, slowly uncrumpling and turning toward the sun

So far ten of eleven seeds in this batch have sprouted and are growing at a ridiculous pace.


Gosh I love plants. :-D


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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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